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stood the pain once without shrinking, but the next day he confessed, upon conditions. The conditions, the same as those which had been obtained by Spence, were, that he should have a pardon for himself, and should not be brought as a witness against others. With all this, his confession did not satisfy his enemies. Before it was printed, it was garbled and mutilated, and, in the place where it should be inserted in the register of the Privy Council, there follow two blank pages. Witnesses against the plot were not yet obtained; but the information of which the government was in possession, enabled them so to work on the fears of Lord Tarras, and Murray of Philiphaugh *, that they were brought to appear against Baillie of Jerviswood.
Baillie was at this time so ill, that it was thought he could not live long. Though his wife offered to be put in irons, if she might remain in prison with him, he was denied that comfort; and even his daughter, at that time only twelve years of age, was not allowed to see him. He was required to purge himself, by oath, from the charge of having any concern in the Rye-House plot. When he refused to do this, though in general he protested his innocence, so heavy a fine was imposed upon him as
* Burnet say*, by means of their wives.
to amount to a sentence of imprisonment for life. But the Court, not satisfied as long as Baillie lived, had no sooner prevailed on Lord Tarras and Murray to give evidence against him, than they brought him to trial for his life. The garbled confession of Carstairs, which they had promised not to make use of as evidence, was produced, and two clerks of council brought to swear to its accuracy. He was found guilty, and executed in great haste, lest death should prevent the work of vengeance. *
I have related these particulars concerning those who suffered for the Rye-House plot, that the reader may the more easily be enabled to follow the remarks I am about to make on the real nature of that plot. If my opinion is well founded, there existed, indeed, both in the higher and the lower orders, a great number of discontented persons: this discontent produced consultations on the state of the nation, and the practicability of resistance amongst the leaders, and wild talk about taking off the King and Duke, amongst indigent and unprincipled men. But there never was a formed plan, either for assassinating the King, or raising the country, except in the heads of Rumsey and West, and Lord Howard and Lord Grey.
I must remark, in the first place, that Lord Russell, and those connected with him, were never supposed to be implicated, even by their bitterest enemies, in the plot for murdering the King. It will be as well, therefore, to speak of that plot in the first place.
On a subject of this kind, there is no better evidence than that of men who are about to die for the crime; and their confessions are more to be attended to in this case than in that of the Popish plot, as the persons executed for this conspiracy were not bound by any tie of faith or sect to support one another, and were of different religions, manners, professions, and habits.
On the day preceding Lord Russell's execution, Walcot, Hone, and Rouse were executed. Walcot laid the contrivance of the plot upon Rumsey and West. But it is better to give his own words, that no mistake may be made:
"I confess I was so unfortunate and unhappy as to be invited by Colonel Rumsey (one of the witnesses against me) to some meetings, where some things were discoursed of, in order to the asserting our liberties and properties, which we looked upon to be violated and invaded. But it was he, and Mr. West, and some gentlemen that are fled, who were the great promoters of those meetings. I was near a quarter of a year ill of the gout, and, during that time, Mr. West often visited me, and still his discourse would be concerning « Lopping the two sparksthat was the word he used, meaning the King and the Duke; and proposed it might be done at a play. This was his frequent discourse; for he said, then they would die in their calling: it was his very expression. He bought arms to do it with, without any direction of mine; I never saw the arms, nor I never saw the men that were to do it; though they said they had fifty employed to that end. I told several of them, that the killing the King would carry such a blemish and stain with it, as would descend to posterity; that I had eight children, that I was loth should be blemished with it; and withal I was confident the Duke of Monmouth would revenge his father's blood, if it were but to vindicate himself from having any hand in it. Mr. West presently told me that the Duke of Monmouth did not refuse to give an engagement, that he would not punish those that should kill the King."
Hone, who appears to have been a weak man, confessed he had been drawn in, and quoted the words of Scripture, " Thou sawest a thief, and thou consentedst to him." He said, he had never been at any of the clubs. He owned he had said, he had rather kill the King and save the Duke of York; but when asked if he had rather a papist should reign over us, he said, he did not know what to say to that.
Rouse gave a very long detail, but reported nothing except on hearsay. He had been told by one Leigh, (one of the witnesses against him,) that Goodenough had a design to secure the King's person without shedding blood. Rouse, as well as the other two, accused the witnesses against him of being the most forward to incite others.
Lord Russell was much rejoiced, when he heard what these men had said; and considered it would destroy all the credit hitherto given to the witnesses.
In the confession of Holloway, we find much vague talk about a plot, and a proposal of his own lo surprise Bristol.
The following are the most important passages in Holloway's confession :•
"About the beginning of May I came up to London again, in company with Mr. Wade, and some other Bristol men; but when we came up, my business being in the city, and theirs about the Temple, we parted; after two or three days, I met with Mr. Wade, and asked how he found things, who told me, he doubted all would prove a sham, for he thought there was nothing intended, finding nothing materially done in